Thursday, December 29, 2016

Relentlessly Refuse Angst

God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen.
Isaiah 28:12 (NLT)

So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest.
Hebrews 4:9-11a (NLT)

I'm Late!

Before I knew it, I was staring 2017 in the face and I hadn't started Christmas yet! Let me back up. I love to go slowly the winter holidays. To ruminate, to think, to hibernate, to enjoy being slow.  But this year, the holidays seemed to go by without me noticing them. It was December 23 and the ornaments were still in the basement.

Habit-forming ...

The rush of life threatened to mask the beauty of the season. Hurry and the related stress can help erode good intentions and habits. So at times I had less

  • healthy movement
  • healthy food
  • healthy reactions
  • intentional connection with God
and it's easy to chalk it all up to the holidays, resolving to get back to normal in the new year. Unfortunately, the deviation becomes the norm after a few infractions, and the extra slice of fruit cake, reduced prayer and meditation become the way of life. The poor quality holiday habits are threatening to consume January 2017, if I don't take stock.

And, if I only had me to consider, myself, I might let this slide. But the hurried habits of the season have all kinds of effects on kids, and on their various developmental differences. My angst is like a tangible thing in the air, and sensory sensitive humans pick up on that. They don't know what they are  noticing, but I know. 

Anchored to Rest

The incredible gift of relationship with the Eternal One, is His persistent presence. As soon as I look up, noticing that I'm lost, He's there, holding my hand. So this week, His guiding hand encouraged stillness, rest, awareness and some healthy rhythms.  This means more
  • deep breathing
  • quiet
  • slowness
  • immersion in what I love
  • reliance on the Eternal One to keep my family (and the related sources of anxiety) while I let go
Research suggests that promises to behave differently (like New Year's resolutions) without the process of being ready for the change, will fall flat quite quickly.  The action stage of change comes after a long process of building awareness and then preparing to change. I can't help but think that stillness and yielding the Holy One, listening to the nudges He sends my way, and storing them up for further reflection, must be part of that initial process, and actually, must be a part of marinating my change efforts, once they are fully underway. 

2017 Resolutions?

So perhaps my resolution for 2017 is more of what I've been doing the week. Less hurry, more rest. Less anxiety, more releasing anxiety (we hope for more trust). Less angst, more music and dancing. More letting go. More giving over.

Dear Heavenly Father, the buzz of the holiday season can sometimes haunt us, as we feel the responsibility of creating the 'right' experience for our families. That burden feels extra heavy with the challenges that we live with  sometimes. Please remind us that many of the responsibilities that we have taken up have been our own choice, and not your requirement. Help us to be still and to listen to your quiet voice, and be led into your rest.  May your irrational peace and overwhelming rest be our continued experience in 2017. Open our eyes to any obstacles to this rest and energize us to relentlessly refuse angst.
Amen.

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